No Gatorade Bath for Mark Mangino

Nick EmenhiserContributor IJanuary 11, 2008

The score was 24-21.

Sounds like a close, exciting game, huh?

Such was to be expected in the match-up between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Hokies of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

One would have figured that if Kansas could get their offense rolling—watch out. Or if Va. Tech came out strong on defense—watch out.

But the gameball went to the Kansas defense. After totaling just 20 sacks for the whole season (80th in the nation), the Jayhawks came out and had 4 in the first quarter alone.
Kansas had already scored a few times before the Hokies actually realized they were playing football. Halftime was classic Lee Corso exclaiming, “Some second-half adjustments are definitely needed in this one, Brad!”

The second half mostly featured KU flailing around the field, tamping down a VT comeback that was futile at best. The Jayhawks had half-heartedly reached the red zone twice in the 4th quarter only to turn the ball over—not that it honestly mattered. For a team that people had mocked all season long, Kansas looked not only like the only team to show up to play, but also as though it truly outmatched Tech with athletes of an upper echelon.

Who’da thunk?

Of course, the game would have gone much differently had the Hokies inserted their great coach, Frank Beamer, in at the QB position. With the way he was throwing that clipboard around the field, someone really should have put a football in HIS hands instead.
So this begs the question: KU plays a whole season and goes 11-1.

Whoop-dee-freakin-doo: LSU went 10-2—beat that (which they did).

Then KU gets to play 3rd-ranked VT in a game that’s supposedly not even going to be close—and instead of noting the Jayhawks stellar season record, the tumultuous crowd screams, “Mizzou should be in that game instead!”

Of course, KU didn’t happen to get blasted twice by the same team in one regular season.

If the game of basketball hadn't been invented by a professor at KU, and were the Phogg not college basketball's most legendary home court, wouldn't this be a much different debate? The truth of the matter is that Kansas is and always will be a basketball school, as long as kids in the Sunflower State continue bouncing basketballs off the barn door for practice.

But take a non-basketball school, for example, Ohio State. Ohio State is just about the only NCAA team that plays in a BCS conference that had a weaker schedule than KU, who at least did leave their own state for pre-conference play. Ohio State's only loss is to Illinois, which finished the season much less spectacularly than Mizzou, who was KU's only loss. Kansas also played a tougher conference schedule; the Big XII is ranked 2nd in the Sagarin rankings--the Big 10, 6th.

Kansas fans can understand being left out of the national championship debate. But loyal Jayhawks don't understand why their team is not even ranked in the top 4. Kansas was ranked 8th going into the Orange Bowl, now ranked 7th after "finally playing someone." Jayhawk fans literally must be foaming at the mouth that proving themselves "finally" did absolutely nothing, especially considering that 3 teams in front of KU lost their last game and KU is now the only BCS team with 1 loss.

In the end it's, "No cigar," for KU, and no Gatorade bath for Mark Mangino. There isn't enough left over after that incredible Orange Bowl performance.